Losing your job is already a daunting experience, but even more so if you are an immigrant on an H-1B work visa. On top of worrying about your source of livelihood, you will probably be anxious about whether the government will deport you sooner or later. After all, with a work visa, your ability to lawfully remain in the U.S. depends on your employment status.
Will the government deport you immediately?
The government generally does not deport immigrants immediately for losing their job while on a work visa. They will likely give you a maximum of 60 days as a grace period. You can use this time to prepare for your trip back to your home country or look for ways to extend your visa.
What can you do to extend your stay?
If you want to remain in the U.S., you can use your grace period to search for a new employer who will sponsor your visa. Once you find a new job, you usually do not need to apply for a new H1-B. Instead, your new employer simply continues to sponsor your existing visa.
Another way to legally extend your stay is by applying for a different type of visa. For instance, some people switch to a student visa to pursue further studies and enhance their odds of finding a better job later.
Being unemployed while on a work visa can be scary, but there are things you can do that might remedy the situation and let you stay in the U.S. longer. An immigration lawyer can help you protect your rights and meet the requirements, enhancing your chances of achieving favorable results.